Malaria's dangerous neighborhood
© BioMed Central Ltd 2000
Published: 31 October 2000
The var genes of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum encode the major variable parasite protein and are expressed in a mutually exclusive manner at the surface of an infected red blood cell. In the 26 October Nature, Freitas-Junior et al. report that Plasmodium uses nuclear architecture in a pathogen survival strategy (Nature 2000, 407:1018-1022). The sub-telomeric regions that contain the var genes are clustered together at the nuclear periphery, apparently allowing recombination at frequenciesmuch higher than those expected from homologous crossover events alone.